With the deadline two days away, we've already seen some activity this weekend. As Steve noted earlier, the Thrashers have dealt for defenseman Alexei Zhitnik and power forward Keith Tkachuk over the past 24 hours. Atlanta is banking on the two veterans to get their franchise into the playoffs for the first time. Let's further examine the recent trades that have taken place including these two:
1.Carolina acquires RW Anson Carter from Columbus for a 2008 fifth round pick.
Analysis: With injuries to key forwards Erik Cole and Cory Stillman, the defending champs are hoping the veteran Carter can provide a lift. They got him at a bargain price. Sure, his career has been up and down. But with the Canes' talent, this could be a good fit.
Who won: Considering that the Jackets were dumb enough to sign him and then all they could muster was a lower end pick, advantage Carolina.
2.Tampa Bay acquires D Shane O'Brien and a 2007 third round pick from Anaheim for G Gerald Coleman and a 2007 first round pick.
Analysis: Perhaps preparing to go after Keith Tkachuk and Bill Guerin, the Ducks parted with physical defenseman O'Brien for another goalie and a first round pick. For the Lightning, it's a no-brainer because they add a solid defender who strengthens their blueline and makes them an even scarier opponent for anyone in the East.
Who won: Unless that first round pick turns into something which can help the Ducks come out of the tough West this Spring, it's advantage Tampa Bay by a country mile.
3.Atlanta picks up D Alexei Zhitnik from Philadelphia in exchange for D Braydon Coburn.
Analysis: In danger again of failing to qualify for the postseason after such a promising beginning, the Thrashers get some much needed blueline help. For the Flyers, they get a former high first round pick who they hope can improve their D in the future along with Ryan Parent and Joni Pitkanen.
Who won: Atlanta had to make this deal. Short-term, it's a win for them but the long-term has the potential to be advantage Flyers.
4.Atlanta acquires LW Keith Tkachuk from St. Louis in exchange for RW Glen Metropolit, 2007 first and third round selections, a 2008 second round pick and a 2008 conditional first round pick.
Analysis: The playoff desperate Thrashers overpay severely for Tkachuk sacrificing their future in the process. If KT fits in with Bobby Holik and Scott Mellanby, they should make the postseason and could be a tough out. Meanwhile, St. Louis Team President John Davidson gets a solid player in Metropolit back and a plethora of draft picks for the future.
Who won: Unless Tkachuk helps the Thrashers win a couple of rounds and re-signs, this is one of the biggest hoists in a long time. In his press release, Davidson thanked him for his dedication to the Blues organization. He should send GM Don Waddell a nice Christmas card. Advantage Blues for a long time.
Hard Hits: Over the past couple of days, there have also been some re-signings. Davidson has been very busy. Last night, he re-signed defenseman Eric Brewer to a four-year deal worth about an average of $4.5 million a season. He overpaid but obviously valued what the defenseman brought. Davidson also reached agreement on a multi-year deal with netminder Manny Legace. So it seems that JD is well on his way to setting the foundation for his club's future. Just wait to see what he gets for leading scorer Bill Guerin. Anaheim is rumored to be very interested. How much will they overpay for the gritty vet? ... Meanwhile in Beantown, the Bruins re-signed Marco Sturm to a four-year deal. The only holdover from the blockbuster deal which sent Joe Thornton to San Jose, Sturm has 20 goals and 12 assists for 32 points. At least they have something to show for that awful trade. ... The Devils trade of Alex Korolyuk back to San Jose for a third round pick fell through. Apparently, Korolyuk was interested in returning to the Sharks for the playoffs but couldn't. And so Lou Lamoriello for once doesn't win. But how long before he snatches Patrick Marleau for some spiked Kool Aid or gets another cap exemption? Couldn't resist. ... So you're Rangers coach Tom Renney and your club has been struggling all year defensively. Your worst defender is Karel Rachunek, who is seemingly never in the right place. So what message do you send? You bench a character player in Aaron Ward over him and have a proud guy who's been part of three Cups leave practice. This while Rachunek, who never wanted to come here until he saw the team make the playoffs last year continues to botch defensive coverages every game and is the softest blueliner the club has ever had, making fans miss Tom Poti. Something is very rotten on Broadway. Especially if management doesn't sell come Tuesday.